SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — Fernando Dallorso thought it was a little crazy that there wasn’t a dedicated seafood restaurant in the South Street Seaport.
“I thought, this is the Seaport, why don’t we have a restaurant dedicated to fish, to the neighborhood’s history?” said Dallorso, a longtime Front Street restaurant owner, whose once-popular Stella Bistro has been shuttered since Hurricane Sandy.
“So, I decided, I’d do it — it’s time for something new.”
Dallorso plans to launch his yet-to-be-named seafood restaurant in the same 213 Front St. spot that once housed Stella. He is aiming to open it in March.
“We want high-quality food, in a causal, comfortable and friendly environment,” Dallorso said. “A neighborhood place, and a go-to place for seafood lovers.”
A preliminary menu for the restaurant features appetizers like $11 lobster and corn fritters with maple truffle honey, as well as a full raw bar, a selection of ceviches and whole grilled fish. Dallorso said he hopes to use local ingredients and fisheries as often as possible.
Stella, which offered American bistro fare, was one of a row of shops and restaurants on Historic Front Street, a cobblestoned block between Peck Slip and Beekman Street with buildings dating back to the 18th century, which sustained extensive storm damage during Sandy and took nearly a year to repair.
Dallorso’s 2,300-square-foot space was deluged in the storm and will cost about $600,000 to reopen, he said.
“It’s been tough — there have been moments when I thought I wouldn’t come back,” said Dallorso, who also own SoHo bistro Novecento. “But we’ve been here for more than seven years and now we’ll just start again.”
Dallorso said the layout of the restaurant will be similar — but the interior is being completely redone.
“Stella Bistro was too dark — we want this place to feel lively, with warm colors, wood — someplace very inviting," he said.
Community Board 1 voted to give advisory support to Dallorso's new liquor license at a meeting earlier this week.
"We're looking forward to being open, to serving this neighborhood again," Dallorso said.